Gardening may seem like just a hobby to many people, but in fact growing food is one of the most radical things you can do: Those who control our food control our lives, and when we take that control back into our own hands, we empower ourselves toward autonomy, self-reliance, and true freedom.
Flores, Heather (2011-10-19). Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community (p. 2). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The Snarky Gardener’s entry into gardening came about accidentally with a previous landlord tilling a 10′ by 50′ swath in the goldenrod infested, brick clay hard, no-mans land behind my duplex. Having little idea what I was doing, I filled the freshly tilled ground with plants I saw my parents grow when I was young – tomatoes, beans, peas, corn, onions, carrots, turnips, eggplants, and others. Some did great (beans, onions, and peas), others mediocre (tomatoes, turnips), and others not at all (carrots didn’t even come up, corn was stunted, etc). But I had enough success to ask myself “Could I grow all my own food?” And for me, that question changed everything, though I’m still far from that goal.
I first heard about “Food Not Lawns” when I attended my first Food Not Lawns Cleveland meeting in January 2013. With my food gardening background, it resonated with me instantly, though I didn’t (and still don’t) consider food gardening “radical”. I wanted to find a group of like minded people to bond with, but organizations like gardening clubs didn’t seem to fit me. The idea of growing plants and flowers just for their looks seemed superficial to me. This group felt like my kind of people.
After recent discussions with Mari Keating, the fearless leader of Food Not Lawns Cleveland and rereading the book, I’ve decided to take the next step by starting “Kent Food Not Lawns“. The FNL movement is “hyper-local” meaning each group should have a limited mile radius influence. Since I’m 35 miles or so from the Cleveland group, creating a new one near me made sense (and keeps me from driving so much). My hope is to find other local gardeners who want to grow food and help others do the same.